Interactive Route Map

Saturday, January 21, 2012

A change of pace...

Today marks 120 days on the road, the day I turn 20 years old (no birthday wishes wanted), and the day I start a new adventure:


Hitchhiking to Las Vegas and beyond.


Why you ask? Well, why not? I've got the time and it's getting a bit cold & rainy on the coast. It will be impossible to bike across the Northern part of the country in February/ March. I also have a small job lined up in Vegas that will take about a week to complete and my team is having a sort of training camp in LA at the end of February. I figured instead of rushing ahead North, why not go back and see what I missed in a different type of way?

I'm leaving my bike here in Fairfax, CA with some friends along with more then half of my gear. I bought a 45L backpack and took only the essentials: Tent, sleeping bag & pad, stove & a single pot, some clothes and a few other small items. People backpack around the world with much less so I should be okay. I plan to be back in NorCal in the beginning of March and continue my bicycle tour up north and eventually back east.

"Oh my god what happens when some crazy trucker picks you up and then kills you!?" Won't happen. Real life would not make good movies, and therefore movies do not represent real life in any actual way. Will I meet some crazy people? Of course! Will it be awkward at times? Sure, but it will all be part of this new adventure.

In a way I see the world as my playground now. I feel comfortable out and about. I love the freedom and the ability to do as I please, to sleep where I want. Real life does everything to strip people of that happiness yet I will cling onto it as long as I can. Simply, I love unpredictable travel & I love meeting new people. Aren't we told to do what we love? What can I say, I guess I will be a dreamer forever.

Wish me luck! Best,
Wojciech




Friday, January 20, 2012

Renovo Bicycles

I took a side trip while in San Francisco to Sausalito, just over the Golden Gate Bridge. My destination was the showroom of Renovo Hardwood Bicycles, a bike company I have been dreaming of ever since I gave up my x-mart mountain bike and got into cycling.

I met Ken Wheeler, the founder of Renovo bikes and got to take one of their incredible pieces of art (yet very functional and usable) out on the road. The thing about these bikes is that they are made out of wood. The frame is a Monocoque, laminate hollow multi- pieced frame that has the strength of steel, stiffness of carbon, and vibration dampening qualities of titanium. Not to mention it looks like a work of art and is an overall joy to ride.

I spent two hours around Sausalito climbing, descending and sprinting. I told Ken once I was finished with my test ride that he better start getting the wood for my frame as I will be ordering one in the summer.

Check their bikes out if you haven't already, you will be truly amazed by the quality and craftsmanship of these bikes.

Renovobikes.com

Renovo Hardwood Bicycles!

Detail

Note: I have not been in any way endorsed, paid nor sponsored by Renovo for this post/ any other mentions. I truly believe that they are a great company making a quality product.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Water front views & the road north.

It's been quite a pleasurable week! Going North from Los Osos I've experienced some of the nicest scenery and roads thus far. My tent held up fine as well (a section of pole was broken causing the whole thing to collapse on me a few times; David helped me fix it and it's stronger now then ever!)

My days on the road were pretty short - 50 miles, 30m, 60m & 70m. I did lounge around quite a bit, taking in the elephant seals and their wallowing, picking strawberries at a pick-your-own farm, & enjoying the sun as it fell below the distant arc of the Pacific. My camp spots were utterly beautiful and probably very common among free campers as a lot of the people I talked to on the road knew which place I was referring to. Sunny most of the time, warm during the day and night, cool during sunset, couldn't ask for better conditions.

Traffic was at a minimal with no major problems until I got past Half Moon Bay. There the cars multiplied like crazy and the road going through Devils Slide (they're building a tunnel, hence neglecting the current road) was shit- no shoulder & the right side of the road littered with stone & glass. I had to walk a section of it up as the cars would not slow down for me as I was riding.

I got into San Francisco on Sunday. The worst winds I've ever experienced in my life were while coming up North along the coast. They weren't steady; constantly changing direction and speed so that it felt like you were truly getting a beating from Mother nature. My face got sandblasted (I was on the coast) to the point of gritting sand with my teeth was the norm. I asked a couple of people if this was a daily thing and was given conflicted stories that went something like: "Yes! I hate this damn place Ahhh get me out of here the wind and fog drive me crazy!" to: "nah don't worry about it... Want some weed?".

I spent the last couple of days here and got perfect weather, no fog or rain just a bit breezy. Biked around the whole city, saw Alamo Square, the Financial District, Chinatown, The Golden Gate and rode on a railcar! Also did some training in the Park, was surprised at how well I handled my intervals and the fact that my times from before this trip hadn't changed very much. Glad this tour didn't hurt my racing, hopefully when I get back to NY I will be able to take a week off the bike and then dive right into some training followed by racing.

Great city but as far as cities are concerned (which I'm not too fond of anyway) I still prefer New York to SF. Sorry San Francisco!

Today is supposed to rain a couple of inches, I'm heading out in it to test out my gear and see if everything is still waterproof. I'll be riding for another day or so and then it will be time for a change of pace. Monday I set out on a new journey off the bike! I will post another blog regarding that later this weekend.

Thankyou for reading,
W





Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Pacific Swimming!

At loss for air

On Friday I went into San Luis Obispo, which had a nice charm and was really enjoyable. People ask you where you're coming from & what you're doing. They take the time out to be... Human. I hung out at the bike shop and book store before battling a brutal headwind to make it to David and Richards house in Los Osos. The weekend tuned out great; I rebuilt my bike, organized my photos and cleaned out my gear.

We talked a lot as well about pretty much everything. One thing that really hit home for me was the idea that when you give people space they become friendlier. It couldn't be more true for me as for when I lived in NY all I wanted to do was to get away from people and go hide out in the woods. I still love nature and isolation, but no longer do it to escape humanity. I got my space and now when I meet someone I'm glad I have the opportunity to talk with them and make a connection. In a way I've become civilized.

Swimming in the Pacific was something I had to do, just like in the Gulf. I had my "tough guy" mentality in place and thought "psh this will be a piece of cake". The Atlantic is tame compared to the forceful Pacific and the water is super cold as well. I wore a thin 3/4 skinsuit but when I dived in the air got sucked out of me. The undercurrent was super strong and the waves "gnarly" to say the least. Now I have swam in the 2 largest oceans, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Baltic sea, four pretty significant bodies of water.

I'm ready for San Francisco and should be there by late weekend, after that its truly unknown. I'm considering doing Tioga Pass and going inland to Yosemite if the weather holds up. Winter weather is definitely coming but thus far I've been blessed with hot days and cloudless skies and it looks like it will continue for at least a bit longer. I'm actually scared of rain now as I haven't encountered any in about 2 months (is my gear still waterproof? Will my rain jacket keep me dry? Etc.) Wish me luck and dry weather ahead!

-W

Lovely little place
Post Pacific swimming after I got warmed up^

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Summers Welcome

It's been a while & I apologize, its just that California is so awesome that I love being out and about rather then sitting on my ipod typing. Anyway here's a little synopsis from a boy lost in California.

I made my way down Highway 395 counting Ford Mustangs and riding on a pretty narrow shoulder. In InYoKern I "splurged" and bought bread, my first purchase in over a week at that point. It was stale and old, and I was upset that I just spent 2.50 on some pretty bad bread. Nevertheless I fried it in butter and made it work.

As I made my way south I passed Mojave (a real shithole) and then Rosamund where I talked to a whole bunch of people about my trip as I was waiting for my ipod to charge up in front of the supermarket. I got a Meatball Marinara from Subway and devoured it. Making my way into Lancaster I was pressed to find a camp spot. I stopped at a farm where a lady wouldn't let me camp because she was concerned that I would shit on her property, and recommended I go to the airport where I'll have "better bathroom facilities". I thought that was a lame idea and instead contacted a bunch of warmshowers.org hosts to try and get a place to stay for the night. Derby & her husband allowed me to pitch my tent in their yard and made me some dinner.

The next day I had a goal, Los Angeles. Of course I wasn't going into the city itself, just the outskirts where I was hoping to stay with some folks and rest up for a bit. Soledad Canyon Road was one of the most pleasant roads yet. A gradual descent coupled with a tail wind made it even more spectacular. I met a couple of cyclists and saw greenery finally. Standing on grass for the first time since eastern Texas was something to call home about.

I went into Angeles National Forest, climbed to an overlook and then descended down. Camped out on the side of the road, in the green. The smell of rotting leaves was intoxicating. I made pancakes to celebrate.

Can't say I had much to celebrate about as far as the coast goes, it was foggy. I didn't actually see the water until my third day out. After Ventura I had enough and went back inland through Los Padres Nat. Forest. There I met a cyclist who has been to 56 countries. We rode up a bit on Hwy 33 and then camped out off a little side dirt road. He has a goal, Texas, while I had all the time in the world to make it 120 miles up to San Luis Obispo. I did 30 miles daily ( left camp at 10, sat up camp by 4) and took every opportunity to explore.

On one occasion I ran out of water. There was a stream but there were also some ranches around. I managed to boil a pot full and then I ran out of fuel for another. It was enough but I was concerned when I heard mooing in the morning. I passed a pistachio farm and then an onion farm (oh the smell!). A gas station had me looking at either diesel or unleaded for fuel ( I've used kerosene thus far) and so I go 50¢ of diesel as it would work with the jet that was already in my stove. It didn't, and the next morning I went back to town to buy 50¢ of unleaded. That proved to be less sutty then kerosene; it burned hotter and worked out pretty well.

I went out to the coast on Friday, & was again pressed to find a camp spot again as it was a residential area. I stopped a cyclist I saw going the other way and he invited me to spend the night at his parents house. People are great (:

The fog was gone and I got to enjoy the sun once again (: